Making Parallelism Easy: A 25 Year Odyssey
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Abstract – Parallel computer design and parallel software development continue to be the most challenging aspects of designing and using computer systems. In this talk, I will chronicle my experience with parallel computer systems from my days as a graduate student at the University of Michigan through my career as a faculty member at Stanford. The talk will cover a number of topics including experience with early message passing machines, developing the revolutionary chip multiprocessor (CMP) ideas, designing commercial CMPs in a startup, making CMPs easier to program using transactional memory, and developing new programming languages for parallelism. Along the way I will highlight the tight interplay beween hardware and software that makes using parallelism so challenging and provide insights about how to make the right tradeoffs to make using parallelism easier.
Biography – Kunle Olukotun is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University and he has been on the faculty since 1991. Olukotun is well known for leading the Stanford Hydra research project which developed one of the first chip multiprocessors with support for thread-level speculation (TLS). Olukotun founded Afara Websystems to develop high-throughput, low power server systems with chip multiprocessor technology. Afara was acquired by Sun Microsystems; the Afara microprocessor technology, called Niagara, is at the center of Sun’s throughput computing initiative. Niagara based systems have become one of Sun’s fastest ramping products ever. Olukotun is actively involved in research in computer architecture, parallel programming environments and scalable parallel systems. Olukotun currently co-leads the Transactional Coherence and Consistency project whose goal is to make parallel programming accessible to average programmers. Olukotun also directs the Stanford Pervasive Parallelism Lab (PPL) which seeks to proliferate the use of parallelism in all application areas. Olukotun is an ACM Fellow (2006) for contributions to multiprocessors on a chip and multi threaded processor design. He has authored many papers on CMP design and parallel software and recently completed a book on CMP architecture. Olukotun received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from The University of Michigan.